After drafting a defensive end and linebacker with their first two picks, the Texans couldn't wait until the third round to address their secondary.
General manager Rick Smith traded with the New England Patriots to move back into the second round and draft Miami cornerback Brandon Harris at No. 60 overall. The Texans gave the Patriots their third- (73rd overall) and fifth-round picks (138th overall) in the deal.
"When you watch the kid play, he plays like a five- or six-year NFL vet," Texans defensive backs coach Vance Joseph said. "His route recognition, his football IQ, was very, very high. When you meet the kid, he's energetic. He's a pro already. He's going to fit right in."
Harris (5-10, 191) was a four-year starter and two-time All-ACC selection at Miami. He allowed only two touchdown passes in his entire career, both against Florida State as a freshman, and ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the Combine.
All of the Texans' first three draft picks – Harris, Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt and Arizona defensive end/outside linebacker Brooks Reed – have been called pro-ready by Texans coaches.
"Smart players win games," Joseph said. "In this league, the team who makes the last mistakes, they win games. We've drafted three players who are smart, good football players, who want to work every day."
Harris is the fourth Miami player to be drafted by the Texans, the most from any school. He's the seventh Hurricane on the Texans' roster, joining wide receiver Andre Johnson, tackles Eric Winston and Rashad Butler, center Chris Myers, linebacker Darryl Sharpton and defensive tackle Damione Lewis.
"I know them all," Harris said. "I train with them each and every day right now. It's a long, ongoing relationship, especially with Andre. I have known him since I was six or seven years old."
A Miami native, Harris was a prep All-American at Booker T. Washington High School. He spent a majority of his time in college playing in the slot, but the Texans – and Harris – are confident that he has the skills to line up inside and outside in the NFL.
"I'm going to bring a lot to the organization," he said. "I'm going to be a shutdown corner. I'm going to bring the University of Miami swagger to the team, be a very disciplined player, very coachable and just have a good time enjoying it."
With Harris now in the fold, the Texans could be ready to move cornerback Glover Quin to free safety.
"It's a split-safety defense, so we really want two twins," Joseph said. "We want two guys who can tackle. We want two guys who are smart. We want two guys who can cover and have range over top of the zone. Once we find that, that's the solution. I think Quin, he can do those things. Being an ex-corner, he's going to have better cover skills than most safeties. Those traits he does have. We need to find one more."